Have Sensitive Skin? 5 Things To Avoid

If your beauty products cause your skin to morph into more of a battlefield than a calm complexion, you’re not alone. According to Peoria, IL, dermatologist Carl W. Soderstrom, MD, those who suffer from skin sensitivities are often allergic to or irritated by some of the ingredients in their products. Rather than waiting for the effects to appear, use products created with sensitive skin in mind. 
 
What’s Causing Your Skin to be Ultra-Sensitive?
According to Livingston, NJ, dermatologist Stephen Nervi, MD, those with supersensitive, reactive skin can be irritated from even the gentlest products. Eczema and rosacea-prone skin types often have inflammation present, along with a compromised skin barrier, which makes their skin more reactive to anything used topically that has even a trace amount of irritants. Skin-care products with humectants like urea and hyaluronic acid—to attract water to the skin—and emollients or occlusives, such as petrolatum, that seal in water, are best. “If your skin can tolerate it, lactic acid is beneficial because it increases ceramide production starting 15 minutes after application,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD.  

Go Gentle
It may take a bit of trial and error to determine if certain ingredients or formulations irritate your skin, which is why most dermatologists often suggest sticking with gentle products if your skin is easily aggravated. “I like Cetaphil and CeraVe cleansers, which can be tolerated by almost all skin types. And, stay away from stronger acne products, which can make the condition worse,” says Dr. Nervi. 

Sensitive Skin Stay-Aways
Nashville, TN, dermatologist Michael Gold, MD, says to steer clear of certain ingredients, additives and chemicals, which can trigger a reaction when the skin’s immune system detects the substance and deems it a threat. 

1. Fragrance

Dr. Bucay says that fragrance may cause contact dermatitis, which is why she often recommends fragrance-free products.” 

2. Additives

Dr. Nervi says, “Preservatives and parabens are in a number of products and can cause skin sensitivities.” 

3. Soaps
Traditional soaps contain chemicals and cleansing agents like sulfates and antibacterials that may dry your skin out, leaving it raw, itchy and peeling. 

4. Makeup Ingredients
Ingredients like talc, pigments in eye shadows and mica (for shimmer) and certain dyes can irritate skin. “Blue and purple colors are more likely to trigger a reaction,” says Dr. Bucay.

5. Heavy Acne Ingredients

Medications that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may dry out skin, making it itchy and red. “Compounds, like too strong of a retinol or AHAs, can irritate the skin if the skin barrier is compromised,” says Dr. Bucay.